Tag Archives: Courage

God Knows Where You’re Going Even If You Don’t – Part Two

8 Sep

Continued from August 30

NOTHING BY ACCIDENT

. . . God prepares our way as we struggle day by day, putting one step in front of the other – sometimes not knowing where life is taking us.

As providence would have it, Ruth decided to go and work in the fields to glean the corn so that she and Naomi could eat. She just happened to select a field owned by a well known kinsman of Naomi’s husband named Boaz. One day Boaz saw Ruth gleaning in his field and asked the worker over his servants who she was. When the worker told Boaz it was Ruth, he had already heard what she had done for Naomi. She had proven herself as a notable woman in her deeds – everyone heard about it and then saw it. Boaz recognized that God had recompensed Ruth for all she had done for one of his own and saw that God was rewarding her and covering her with his protection.

Boaz gave instructions to his workers that they were to allow Ruth to continue to glean in his field. He even told them to drop extra corn so that Ruth might pick it up. He commanded them not to rebuke her or send her away. He also ordered them to watch over her and to keep her safe.
Boaz showed much kindness to Ruth for which she was very grateful.

One day, Ruth humbled herself and bowed low before him in thanks and asked him why she had found grace in his eyes. He told her that word had come to him about how she had devoted herself to her mother-in-law since her father-in-law’s death. He also knew she had left her father and her mother and her country to live in a land and people she knew nothing about. Boaz told Ruth that God wanted to repay her for these things and because she had put her trust in God and turned from pagan idols. Then, he told her that he wanted her to stay in his fields, close to his maidens. He wanted to make sure she was protected. This was God’s way of watching over her, again, unknown by Ruth.

When Ruth went home and told Naomi of the day’s events Naomi praised God and told Ruth that Boaz was a near relative who could redeem them. Naomi was a godly, perceptive woman. She wanted to find a home for Ruth and a husband. She wanted Ruth to prosper.

When the harvesting was finished, Boaz went among his workers to the threshing floor where they were winnowing the harvest. There was food and drink and celebrating.

Naomi told Ruth to bathe and perfume herself and change her clothes. She wanted her to put on her best clothes but not to look like a harlot. Naomi then instructed Ruth to go to the threshing floor where Boaz would be eating and drinking. She told Ruth to stay out of sight, not to let anyone see her, but to watch and see where Boaz slept. Ruth was to wait until he fell asleep and then go and lift the covers and lie down at his feet. Naomi told Ruth that Boaz would then tell her what to do. Ruth agreed to do everything Naomi told her.

Once again Ruth proves her courage her respect and complete trust in Naomi. Keep in mind that Ruth was from a foreign land. She knew nothing of the customs of Naomi’s people. God’s love continues to draw this young woman and continues to soften her heart. She was not an Israelite. She was a woman from another land. God had forbidden marriage to the pagan women there. It is even believed by some Bible scholars that Naomi’s sons died an early death because they married against God’s will.

This is an amazing act of God’s mercy and grace. God opens His arms to receive everyone. His love drew a pagan woman to Himself through one of His own. He then completely changed her through her hardships and made her into a virtuous woman, worthy of a good husband, a man of stature and wealth. Incredible!

The picture portrayed here is one of extreme proportions. To summarize, the two sons of Naomi sinned against God by taking foreign wives, forbidden women because of their heritage. Then, one of the very same women turned her heart over to God through her commitment and dedication to Naomi, one of God’s own people. God open the door for Ruth to marry into this godly family. How true it is that God’s ways are so much higher than ours!

To Be Continued . . .

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The Rewards of Obedience vs. The Cost of Disobedience

18 May

Obedience Or Rebellion?

1 Sam 15:22-23   22 But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to him is much better than offering the fat of rams. 23 Rebellion is as bad as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you from being king.” NLT

As God’s children we want to please Him. Our inner struggle is constant though it might not be prominent. There is a undurcurrent within us that we have become accustomed to. I don’t believe it is because we are bad or purposely rebellious. With me it’s more about sometimes not knowing for sure what the right thing is. Of course, many times it is very obvious what is right and what is wrong, but I want to speak to what is buried deep within our hearts at the root of our reasoning.

I have always been a confident person in most areas of my life. Even as a child I was compliant – always wanting to do the right things. To rebel was not in my nature, at least not to the point of being defiant. When I faced decisions that I believed were wrong, I somehow just couldn’t force myself to comply. In the few times I did, I was in constant turmoil until the situation was terminated.

As I am reaching the winter of my life I can see that even though I was unaware of it, God had a plan for me. (He also has one for you!) Here is proof in a few of my favorite Scriptures from Psalms 139, written by King David:

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise;you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down;you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. . .

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful,I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body.All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me,and lead me in the way everlasting.  NIV

Notice starting with verse 13 that God created our inmost being – His eyes saw our unformed body and all our days were ordained for us before one of them came to be! Selah – Pause and calmly think of that.

None of us are here by accident. God made us – He created us with a purpose and He knew today, right now, what you and I would be doing at this very moment. – No words can express the emotion for knowing that.

The Rewards of Obedience

It takes us a while to realize there is more to life that “me.” Seriously? It is human nature from the moment we are born into this world. We spend a lifetime struggling with ourselves vs. the good and the bad.

Recently I had an assignment from God. You might ask “How can you be sure it was from God?” I know because He instructed me clearly to do something I have said at least a million times that I would not do! The interesting thing is that He won’t force me to do it. It won’t even hurt me NOT to do it. In fact, it would be easier for me NOT to do it. After all, I could just chalk it up to “not being sure it was God.” Or, I could just stop thinking about it and move on.

Well, I don’t know about you, but God won’t allow me to do that. It’s that deep, small voice that continually woos me. I can make it go away – at least for a little while. Then, I sense it wooing me again. I then begin to get deliberate in praying about it to make sure I haven’t imagined the entire thing.

God is so good about giving us little sign posts along our journey. If we aren’t sensitive to the Spirit we might not recognize them. We might think “It’s only a coincidence.” God gave us the Holy Spirit to teach us and to counsel us and to lead us into truth. We have the choice as to whether we listen and follow His instruction or to just ignore it until it goes away.

God’s Instruction to Me

That brings me to my main point – My obedience to that still, small voice could be a life changing event for a child of God who is seeking desperately to find a solution to a great problem. My attitude, though I didn’t realize it was wrong, kept me from even considering offering my help. The reason? – I didn’t want to get involved. It was all about me and the price I wasn’t willing to pay to obey God. It wouldn’t really have hurt me, except that I would disappoint God by my disobedience.

No, that’s really not all my disobedience would do. God made it clear to me that to be disobedient could rob someone of a complete change in their life – a life free from hell on earth. I know it sounds drastic. In fact, it is.

Could someone else do it? I don’t know. That’s not the issue. The issue is will I choose to obey or not? Maybe I am the only person that could help. The consequences of my disobedience could be amazingly wonderful or disastrously terrible.

Think about that for a moment. I did. It kept me awake all night asking God if He was really asking me to do something I was adamantly opposed to doing. I’ve missed God before. Not always on purpose but because I am always still evolving (really). I’ve also missed Him out of ignorance of the Scripture or misunderstanding. Sometimes I’m just rebellious. Ugh! It’s hard to even say.

I learned from Charles Stanley that when God is speaking to you and you are struggling with what you think He is saying to you that peace will eventually develop and you will know God is leading you. If that peace does not develop, I call that a “red flag.” There isn’t a deadline that God can’t push back or overcome. Don’t look at the deadlines – look to the God who created you and made you for this day.

Send Me – Yes, No or Maybe?

God was searching for someone to send to His people and Isaiah said:

Isa 6:8  8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me !”
NIV

Have you ever said that? I have, however: I recently discovered that many times my “send me” reply is conditional on  my terms. Goodness! God really has a way to slap us on the wrist, doesn’t He?

I’m hoping you can see that our minds and hearts are so full of the busyness of the world that God’s voice doesn’t always make through to our hearts. It isn’t His fault. It has to do with the condition of our hearts and our natural instinct to rebel. Sorry to have to say it.

The Final Outcome

After struggling with myself and trying to determine whether I had simply lost my resolve or if God was actually trying to get through to me, peace began to develop. Let me add, the peace was in my spirit, not in my head. My mind was spinning with many doubts and questions and concerns about something I had been claiming as impossible for me to do for many years.

But, when I opened my heart and let God – He began to use His sweet Holy Spirit to speak to me in His ways by speaking to me of How Jesus would handle the situation and my purpose for being one of His disciples.

The Future? – What does it hold for this situation? – I don’t know. It’s a little scary. But I know the Creator of the Universe. He made me – formed me from a tiny seed planted within my Mother. He had a plan 69 years ago for what I would do this very day. He’s the One I look to, not the situation I dread. Do I have a plan? No. Do I know what the outcome will be or what will happen along the way? No. Am I nuts? – I’m not sure, but I don’t think so.

God has proved Himself to me over and over and over. As I heard from Sunday’s message by Pastor Scott Jones at Grace Church, not all of the amazing miracles and things Jesus did while He was on earth were recorded. I can identify with that because my Father God – My Friend, Jesus – and the Sweet Holy Spirit – are constantly present in my life doing things for me that are too many to count.

He is trustworthy – are you?

 

 

Back to Goliath

28 Mar God Is With Us

Continued from last week . . .

1 Sam 17:4-7   4 A champion named Goliath , who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; 6 on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. 7 His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield-bearer went ahead of him.  NIV

In the beginning David didn’t have much of a part to play in the battle that was taking place. He was just there to deliver food to his older brothers. I think it so odd that the war was so close that David could walk the distance to deliver food for his brothers. And, to think – they could actually hear the giant, Goliath, yelling obscenities at them.

David was struggling with the fact that not one soldier was doing anything about this enemy of theirs. He questioned them about it, wondering why someone didn’t shut him up. The truth is that they were all afraid. They had heard of the giant’s reputation. No one had ever survived his attacks. They knew that to fight him meant sure death.

David’s reaction (remember, he was just a boy – not a soldier) was one of great wonder and frustration. He reprimanded the soldiers for allowing this man to dishonor them and God with his taunting. David’s brothers made fun of him and told him he didn’t have a clue about anything because he was just a shepherd boy. They demanded he go back home and leave the Goliath to them.

David didn’t go home. He went out into the desert to pray. As he prayed his faith grew stronger. He went back to where the soldiers were and offered to fight the giant. Of course, they laughed and jeered at him, and  made fun of him. His brothers were embarrassed and even questioned why God had anointed him to be the future King instead of one of them.

David went to Saul, the reigning King, and asked for his permission to confront Goliath. King Saul also denied his request telling him he could now allow such a young boy to be subjected to sure death. David didn’t quit there. He continued to present his case to the King until he was finally given permission to fight Goliath. The other soldiers gathered burial clothes for David and attempted to deliver them to David’s brothers. The brothers were angered and refused the burial garments. Saul tried to persuade David to put on his armor and carry his spear, but David refused. They were too big for him, and too heavy.

Amazing!

God had seen in David a man after His own heart. He knew that David had faith in Him and that he would follow Him in obedience, not looking at circumstances, and not doubting God’s provision and protection. Can we say that about ourselves? At what point would we have given in and given up? Apply this to your situation today. What Goliath are you confronted with – a difficult circumstance – the loss of a job – not enough money – a failed relationship – illness? There are many Goliath’s in our lives. Some we feel confident to face. Others, not so much.

The most amazing part of this story to me is how much negative reaction was happening around David. No one even gave his request to fight Goliath a tiny bit of thought. The had already accepted defeat. They even believed this giant was so big that even God couldn’t stop him!

After warning David again and again, they realized they couldn’t stop him so they just gave in, expecting Goliath to kill him. In the movie, David’s brothers asked him what he was going to do since he wasn’t going to take the King’s weapon? David replied, “I don’t know.” Have you ever been there – said that? I have.

David made his way down the mountainside right into the enemies’ camp. All the while the enemy soldiers were taunting him, laughing at him, and making fun of him. David kept his eyes on Goliath who was also jeering at him and laughing at him. This is what he said to the enemy soldiers:

1 Sam 17:45-47 “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” NIV

David just kept staring at him as he reached down and gathered five stones. As Goliath threw his head back in laughter at David, David released the pebble from his sling which hit Goliath in the forehead and killed him immediately. The soldiers stopped jeering and gasped at what had happened. King Saul’s soldiers, watching from the mountain began to cheer for David’s defeat of the giant.

Back to Our Personal Goliath

This Bible story is more than an “old movie.” This event took place. What some call “Bible Stories” were written down by God’s chosen men, inspired by His Spirit. They were recorded so that we could learn about God and His ways, and so that we could get a better picture of how vital our relationship is to Him AND our obedience.

I have personally faced a few giants in my walk with God. David’s encounter was and is uplifting. He made it a point to trust in God and not in himself. He knew that he, alone, could not win the battle. He wasn’t even sure just how to proceed. What he did know was that God is bigger than any giant we face, but we can’t just wander around in fear, murmuring to ourselves about what we’re going to do. It also doesn’t help to begin accepting and preparing for defeat!

Walking with God is our assurance that we can face any giant – any – with God at our side. We will always be victorious, even if things don’t turn out exactly like we want them to. With God, HE takes the weight of the load off our shoulders, as we put our trust and confidence in Him and as we seek Him for answers – and the most important part  – that we obey as He directs us.

 

 

 

What Is Your Goliath?

22 Mar

Watch Out For The Giants

1 Sam 17:4-7   4 A champion named Goliath , who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; 6 on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. 7 His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him.  NIV

I’ve been facing Goliath for several months – circling him with my sling, trying to work up the courage to let God be God, and to trust Him to guide that small stone from my sling to the Goliath that I face. While circling my thoughts run rampant. “What if I miss the target?” “What if I make things worse than they already are?” “Maybe I should just drop this sling and stones and just run.” “There must be another way out.”  Goliath was a giant – he was huge, and scary. His voice thundered and he roared at the soldiers, and they were all afraid. No one had ever escaped this giant. To fight him meant sure death in their eyes.

This story in 1 Samuel describes how we feel when facing the giants we face in our lives today. I have been facing several for months now and have allowed them to beat me down so far that everything seemed hopeless. I admit that reluctantly because now that I have come out of it I am disappointed that I allowed it for so long. It happens slowly – very slowly. That’s why the enemy can beat us down so far. We get our eyes off Jesus and begin to give in to negative thoughts.

How It Happens

Here’s how it happened with me. It wasn’t obvious or intentional. My focus changed gradually to my circumstances and my lack – things I wanted and couldn’t have or make happen. That’s when the reasoning takes over and the doubting. Dread steps in along with fear. Worry takes over working itself up to outright fear.

The trip down wasn’t obvious. Everything seemed to be going along the same as usual – until it wasn’t. I was already praying and doing all I knew to do, thinking I had a handle on everything. I found myself walking around my home asking God what was wrong with me. Depression and lethargy were taking over every moment of my day. This was my Goliath.

So, What Do I Do About It?

I had already been praying and searching for answers – doing all I could to force myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I had been fighting a bad chest cold and cough which was making matters worse. After about six weeks I began to feel better which immediately made my outlook better to begin with.

God seemed to be sitting back and letting me flounder. I’m not blaming Him, I just don’t   understand why it takes so long sometimes for me to get it! But – in the process – I am discovering things about myself that need to be fixed. And, so I did.

A couple of days ago I was watching a very old movie that caught my eye, simply called “Goliath.” I knew the story. It caught my eye because many years ago God had nudged me to read and study about David and Goliath. I was going through some traumatic things and His Word in the Bible is always encouraging.

I had heard the story from childhood and all throughout my adult life. I have read it many times. (Hint: Never assume you already know it all or that God’s Word, even though you might have memorized it, isn’t new every morning.) God’s Word is progressive. It IS new every time you read it.

Back to the movie. At first it didn’t seem very exciting – the scene was in a desert with only sand and rocks and soldiers. Didn’t matter – I was multi-tasking – playing solitaire on my tablet. I looked up every now and then to catch a glimpse of the characters. I especially wanted to see who was cast to play David – the young shepherd boy God had anointed to be the next King. I also wanted to take a look at Goliath to see just how big and mean he looked. He looked about like I suspected. But . . .

David – the young shepherd boy who would one day become King as God had decreed and Samuel had anointed – that was a different story. He wasn’t as I imagined him at all. He truly looked like a young teenage boy.

God Doesn’t Look At Things The Way We Do

Saul’s soldiers were dressed in sharp-looking uniforms with great helmets, shields and swords. The opposing group looked very scary and mean. Goliath was taunting God’s men saying awful things about what he was going to do to them, and his mission was accomplished – they were scared. They had heard of his reputation and knew that no one had every survived his attacks. None of the soldiers would volunteer to fight him.

David just happened to be there to deliver food to his brothers. It’s hard to imagine a war where the men are so close that they can yell at one another, but that’s how it was. David heard Goliath taunting the soldiers of God and couldn’t believe that they were allowing him to do so. After all, he was God’s enemy and David couldn’t understand why Goliath was being allowed to  get away with his taunting and his  threats.

Continued . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accomplish Great Things – Me?

14 Feb

“Accomplish great things – me?” You say, “I’m not Moses. He was a great man of the Bible, and I’m just ordinary.” 

Accomplish God’s Plan For Your Life

You can  accomplish great things with God’s help. It might surprise you to discover that Moses, too, was just an ordinary man. Reading about him in Exodus will shine a light on just how ordinary he was.  He was not a great man. He was just a man who God used to accomplish His will. It is always God we look to, not man. We need God, in all we do and in all we are.

Moses was born after Joseph died and a new king ruled over Egypt. The king decided that the population of Israelites (God’s children)  was growing too fast and he feared that they would become greater than the Egyptians. He also feared that if they became too great they would join the enemies of Egypt and fight against them.

In order to get more control over them, the King decided to set hard taskmaskers over them. God’s people became even more afflicted, but the Israelites were still multiplying. (God has promised to Abraham that his descendants would multiply greatly, and God always keeps His promises.)

The King came up with another plan. He instructed the Hebrew midwives to kill any male child born  to the Hebrew women, but to let the daughters live. The midwives feared God and did not do as the king had commanded them. They told the king that the Hebrew women were “lively and gave birth before the midwives could get to them.”

Since the midwives were obedient to God, He multiplied their numbers even more. So, the Egyptian people were instructed to throw every baby boy born into the river and drown them.

Moses was born at this time in history. His mother hid him successfully as long as she could but the time came when she could no longer keep him hidden. She feared for his life. She  placed him in a basket and sent his sister, Miriam, to place the basket in the river, and to keep an eye on it so she could report back as to what happened to Moses.

In God’s divine plan, the daughter of the Pharaoh was bathing in that very same river at the very same time that little basket floated by. (God’s timing is always perfect and miraculous!) She sent one of her maids to see what was in the basket.  When she saw the baby she knew it was one of the Hebrew children, and she had compassion on him because he was crying.

As another great part of this miracle, Miriam asked the Princess if she would like for her to find someone to nurse the baby. Guess who Miriam took the baby to? – You guessed it – back to Moses’ mother! And, to make that even greater, she paid Moses’ mother to feed him and take care of him until he was old enough to return to the King’s palace. God is just so good. His ways are truly amazing.

Moses Returned To The Palace

The day came when Moses was returned to the Pharaoh’s daughter, and she named him “Moses” saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.”

I find it so interesting that God had a plan for Moses before he was even born. Even though everything man could do to stop that work from taking place, God would not and could not be stopped. His perfect will for Moses and the children of Israel was set in motion. They needed someone to deliver them from captivity. God heard their prayers and Moses was sent to accomplish that task.

God sent Moses to live in the palace of the King who did all he could to destroy him! What’s even more spectacular to me is that Moses was raised in the King’s palace and learned all of the Egyptian ways. He experienced all the earthly material things of the King himself.

Moses Lacked Faith

Moses had received a great education and all the King had to offer, but he lacked what was most important to a child of God – faith. As he grew older and discovered more about his heritage. One day he made a big mistake – (interestingly, this mistake was used by God to make Moses into the man God wanted him to be from the beginning).

Moses saw an Egyptian man beating one of his Hebrew brothers. He checked to make sure no one was watching, then killed the Egyptian and buried his body in the sand. The next day Moses discovered that his secret had been found out and he fled from the palace in fear that he, too, would be killed when the Pharaoh discovered what he had done.

Moses fled into the desert and dwelt in the land of Midian. There he became a shepherd and took a wife. This was the new life of Moses. He no longer enjoyed the fine life of the king’s palace and his royal duties. He made a big mistake and traded his kingly robes for a shepherd’s robe in the desert.

The Desert

The Desert

A tree in the desert

One hot day in the desert, Moses saw a fire burning in the middle of a bush, but the bush was not consumed.  He decided to take a closer look. He went closer to the bush, burning – but not burning up. When he got close to the bush, and God spoke to him from the middle of that fire! He told Moses to remove his sandals because he was standing on holy ground.

Do you ever take a closer look when something gets your attention? Or, do you let it pass and continue on your way? As disciples of Christ, it is extremely important for us to acknowledge the whispers of God – the small signs He places in our path to get our attention. Lots of times we just go on our way, oblivious to what God is saying to us. Know this, God is always with us and many times His Spirit gives us signs along the way as encouragement and warnings as to His will for our lives.

Self Doubt

This is the part I like best – God begins to tell Moses that he is now ready – he’s been prepared to do the work he was prepared for. God had taken all of Moses’ rights and wrongs – all of his mistakes. Every event of his life up to that point had prepared him to be the answer of thousands of prayers being sent up from the people of Israel for deliverance.

I don’t think Moses intended to be stubborn. Mostly, he doubted himself. He gave in to doubt, fear, and even unbelief. He doubted whether God could accomplish such a great task using a man like him. He was focusing on himself and what he could do rather than on God and what HE could do.

He questioned God about many things. I don’t think God minds our questions. I believe He would rather us ask Him in prayer and seek His answers in the Bible than to run to friends or other sources. After all, He IS The Way!

Moses offered up to God every excuse he could think of as to why he was the wrong person for the job. God answered his questions. Moses even asked God, “Who am I, that I should go to the Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”  It  makes sense to me that he would ask that question. I certainly would have, and most of you probably would, too.

In the midst of the argument against his assignment, Moses challenged God by asking Him what he would do if the people did not believe him. God assured Moses that He would be with him every step of the way. He also told Moses something key to how God works in us. He asked Moses what it was he held in his hand. Moses had “only” a staff.

God can use what we have, whatever it might be, for His glory. Even if we don’t know how to do what He asks of us, He will see to it that we are prepared for what He calls us to do.

Next Time

In the next blog, I will continue with how God used an ordinary man to do a great work – not a work to bring honor to Moses, but a work to bring honor to God. When God gives us direction – He is responsible for the outcome, if we are obedient.

What is in your hand? Will you argue with God about what He wants from you? Even if you have nothing in your hand and God calls out to you, He will provide what you need.

It’s okay to ask questions, we are instructed to do that in the Bible. Initial doubt and fear are understandable. Give it back to God though. That’s part of His plan for you – not to carry the burden, but to let Him carry it.

Exodus  1-4 The Essential Everyday Bible Commentary NKJV

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My First E-Book Now Available On Amazon

8 Oct

Book CoverGrief, pain, hardship and tragedy happen to all of us equally. God gives us all the same opportunity to come to Him through Jesus, His Son. There is a misconception that Christians should be free from pain and suffering. They should have it better than everybody else, and that if they are having problems there must be some deep dark sin in their lives.

God is often judged by the circumstances that affect the lives of His followers. If something bad happens to them, it might appear that God failed or that He is punishing them or teaching them a lesson. The misconception is that Christians are loved by God more and therefore He treats them better and gives them more.

God is frequently viewed as a mere option in our world today. Even some Christians view God’s participation in their lives to be necessary only if they are unable to handle something on their own – especially a crisis.

This series of books will visit many of the hard questions asked about God and what it means to be a Christian. Step by Step guidance will help the reader understand how to become a Christian, how to live daily walking and talking with God, and how to understand His will for your life.

Walking with God is a deliberate action taken by those who want to be born again into life everlasting with Him – it requires only believing in Jesus Christ, asking for His forgiveness of our sins, and learning how to live and walk daily with Him in your heart and at your side.

God is very real. He isn’t a figment of our imagination. He isn’t spooky or strange. He is loving and kind. He is good and loves each and every one of us more than we can even understand.

God doesn’t just love Christians. He loves every single person in the world. He doesn’t favor Christians. Christians aren’t better than everyone else. Knowing and following Jesus Christ doesn’t mean a life with no sorrows or pain.
The difference is in our hearts. Walking daily with God and talking to Him at any time you want to is better than having your best earthly friend by your side all the time,and even better than any other person you believe to have everything you want and/or need.

God is the peace you need, and the protection you need, He has the provision you need, and the guidance you need. He can and will direct every step you take, if you let Him. It’s not always easy. That’s where faith and trust come in.

God is the one thing in this life that has never changed and will never change. But, it doesn’t mean He is old fashioned or out of date. There is nothing on this planet that wasn’t already arranged by Him long, long before time, as we know it, began.

The first book in this series is part of my testimony. It starts about the time I graduated from high school. I was raised in a Christian home, went to church because my mother made me, and all I knew of God was that I was supposed to love Him and be good.

As it is said, “Life Happens”. I went to church from the time I was a little girl and accepted Jesus at a Baptist Camp at the age of nine years old, I didn’t really come to know Him until life started invading my space. Those were the times I began to “consider” God – wondering if He was really there and wondering what He wanted from me.

I am now 68 years old. I can tell you it has taken a long life of mistakes, pain, hardship, suffering and grief – just like everyone else I know – Christian or not. The only thing I would change if I had a “do over” would be that I would have worked harder at getting serious about my relationship with God and I would not have worked so hard at doing things my way. I would have spent the necessary time getting to know my maker and letting Him guide me rather than having Him constantly have to bail me out of my troubles and set me back on my feet.That’s life. After this one there’s one in eternity. Where will you spend yours?

TRANSITION (Part 2) – Is God Happy With You?

14 Sep

We’ve been talking about change – It appears to me that many of us are heading for change in our lives. One way we can tell is that our Spirit within begins to get a little uncomfortable. We’re not sure why and we begin to question ourselves about certain issues in our lives. I have always likened it to climbing a ladder – the feeling you have when you are in between steps – you’re not fully on the bottom step nor are you fully on the next step – you’re pushing with one side and pulling with the other. It’s like you are still where you are, but shifting to another level – you’re not firmly on either step.

Many of us don’t like change – some fight against it with everything they have, and dig their heels in refusing to budge. Others look forward to it with anticipation and eagerness because they have learned to trust God, and have let Him lead them. They are confident because He has never failed them, and He knows what’s best.Blog Pix

As I mentioned in Part 1 of this subject, Pastor Brett Jones, a senior pastor at Grace Church, Humble, Texas, spoke with us about growing to our full capacity – maximizing our opportunities. God gave each of us talents and abilities that He gave to no one else. That is so exciting to me! It doesn’t mean any of us are any better than the other. It just means our God is a personal God and He isn’t making “cookie cutter” disciples out of us. He cares enough about each and every one of us to give us something special from Himself so that we will be equipped to do the work He planned for us while we were yet in our mothers’ wombs.

When we tell God we can’t do something, He will send someone else. I don’t know about you, but I would not like it at all if God had to send someone else to do what He originally intended for me to do.

IS GOD HAPPY WITH YOU?

Listening to the message Pastor Jones was giving us I had one of those “Seriously?” moments – an eye opener, if you will. Pastor said, “Just because God provides for us doesn’t mean He’s happy with what we are doing”. That was a “Selah” (Pause, and calmly think of that) moment for me. God has provided for me in so many ways – ways that seem like miracles to me many times. The thought that while doing so He may not be happy with what I was doing astonished me! Then, Pastor said, “Provision does not mean favor”. – Another startling revelation to me. He explained that God blesses us and continues to give us favor because of His amazing love for us – not because of what we do or not do.

I always feel blessed by God. He is good to me all the time – (in case anyone is wondering, I DO make mistakes, and have problems just like everyone does). I just thought that since I do see God’s favor all the time and I am so blessed by Him, He must surely be pleased with me. I want Him to be pleased with me. Now – what if He isn’t?

10604440_270154343182016_9023185512106127701_oThis is kind of what I mean about that awkwardness we feel when it’s transition time! We find ourselves in a place of feeling safe – comfortable – things are fine just like they are (in our way of thinking). Then, we learn we can never get too comfortable. God won’t allow us to just sit comfortably by while life moves  on by. If we’ve finished here on this earth we might as well go on to heaven, don’t you think?

Sometimes I remind the Lord that I am 68 years old, in case He has forgotten (but he hasn’t – remember, according to Psalms 139 God formed me in my mother’s womb and he planned every day of my life before I was born. So, that’s how I know He knows how old I am, and what I am still capable of doing. Sometimes I just have to speak to my old body to keep up.

So, the next jolt for me in the sermon was that we should not just be saved – we should do what God put us here to do! I really never thought of that. I do try to stay in tune with what God requires from me. But what He has in mind and what I have in mind sometimes differ. We have different ideas about who I am and what I can do.

Pastor Jones again, “The goal of God is not just for us to go to heaven – it is to fulfill our assignment.” Did you know we all have assignments? Do you know what yours is?

Think about this – pray about it – meditate on God’s Word, and ask Him to give you the answers.

We’re going to go a little deeper in my next post.

TRANSITION

11 Sep

The DicBlog Pixtionary describes transition as a period of changing from one state to another. Other meanings include:

  • change
  • passage
  • move
  • transformation
  • conversion
  • metamorphosis
  • alteration
  • switch
  • progress
  • development

This was Sunday’s message presented by Pastor Brett Jones,  one of our senior pastors at Grace Church  http://gracechurchlive.com/locations/humble-campus/.  I have been considering some major changes in my life for many months now. Actually, the seed was planted a few years ago, but I had so many doubts and pre-conceived ideas about making any changes. I was fearful that I was too old and just not qualified to do what I dreamed of doing. I lacked the faith to follow through. So, even though I never really gave up on the idea I did do exactly what the following message is going to speak to. God knows just what we need and when we need it!

It’s not always easy to make changes, and some of us don’t like change at all, so we decide to stay right where we are continuing to do just what we do. Pastor Jones referred to a Scripture in Exodus where God’s people were calling out for help – they were suffering – they were being mistreated. God told Moses that He had heard their cries and seen their suffering, and that He had a plan to rescue them. :

  • The people were suffering and cried out to God
  • God heard them and He was concerned for them
  • God had a plan to rescue them
  • God already had an answer waiting, and a place to take them

Pastor Jones explained to us that God had already set the destination – He had already made preparations for them. What had to happen next was that the people had to recognize God was directing them. He sent someone to help them and they struggled with recognizing  the man God sent because he was just an ordinary like you and me. So, they began to question, criticize and complain. (Sound familiar?)

Many times we have mind-sets and pre-conceived ideas about the way our situations should work out. We can get so focused on that one idea that we literally don’t see the forest for the trees. We are unwilling to look at any other options.  So, we prefer to stay in our comfortable little world because at least we are familiar with it, and we let fear convince us that anything different would be too uncomfortable and too much trouble.

The truth is that remaining in the same rut (Charles Stanley calls a rut an open-ended grave), is much harder t10623321_270154349848682_7235250059908727006_ohan stepping out in faith toward what God has already prepared for us. Most of our limitations in life are given to us by us, according to Pastor Jones. We just aren’t willing to adjust our capacity to take a step forward. We focus on our shortcomings, our failures and our limitations instead of what God can do, but God has plans for us that we can’t even imagine!

God doesn’t get in a hurry and we shouldn’t either. I am impatient much of the time, as I imagine many are in today’s world. However; I’ve learned (the hard way) that God doesn’t expect me to be stressed, always hurrying, frustrated because I’m not meeting my own goals, and sometimes just plain weary.

Pastor Jones told us that when God gives us an opportunity He expects us to follow through. God wants us to grow to our maximum capacity, and maximize our opportunities.  One of the most powerful statements he made was that if we don’t have the capacity to do something, we will pull it down to our level.

Pastor Jones explained it this way; he likened it to the Israelites wandering around in the desert for 40 years when they could have made their trip in less than a couple of weeks. Look at what they did:

  • They continually complained about their situation
  • They blamed their leader because he didn’t do more for them
  • They doubted God and Moses and continued to mumble about their situation
  • They saw miracle after miracle but it wasn’t good enough for them, they still doubted God
  • They continually wanted to go back to slavery because it was what they knew
  • They didn’t have the capacity to move forward and enlarge their vision

As a result, all of the Israelites under the age of 20 were not allowed to receive the things God had planned to give them. Even Moses, himself, didn’t get to enter the Promised Land because he became frustrated and angry, and struck a rock demanding water from it instead of waiting on God.

We are all subject to the consequences of disobedience and rebellion. We sometimes believe that the way things are just isn’t  our fault. We limit ourselves so much to our small world that we fail to look up and see that God can, and will, save us if we ask Him and then let Him.

We need to ask God today for help in maximizing every opportunity He gives us, and to help us look beyond our own finite world. (Finite means something has an end or finishing point.) Let’s don’t look around us and determine our lives are dull, stale, a waste – or finished! Let’s look to God, the author and finisher of our faith, and follow as He leads us to our destination – with the full assurance and expectation of achieving all He has for us.

Pre-Conceived Ideas

6 Aug

Father, You alone never fail me. You alone never change. You alone love me no matter how I act or behave, or fail. I never have to fear your rejection or separation from you. I never have to wonder if you have forgiven me when I mess up. Your love is the only perfect love.

  • John 5:1  God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. NIV

This morning, as I went to prayer I was thinking about some of life’s disappointments and failures. As I meditated on it God began to lead me into the words of adoration above. There is complete rest in the knowledge that God is always on our side. He fights for us and no one can stand against us. The outcome may not always be what we think we want and it may not make us feel good. God is not in the business of making us feel good. He wants us to be complete in Him and He is continually working within us to cleanse and purify us.

Sometimes we don’t even know what is deep within our hearts until it begins to come out. Don’t stop that process. God wants us to let it out. He wants us to be aware of what is within us, otherwise we’ll stay the same. God doesn’t want us to  stay the same.

Charles Stanley says that a rut is an open-ended grave. God doesn’t want us in a rut. There are times when everything around us seems to be falling apart. I call those times “transition times”. I explain it as climbing a ladder and the feel of leaving the lower step to go to the next step. It’s that “in between” step when you know something is changing and you’re not sure just what it is. You’re also not sure you want to go there. God doesn’t want us to stay where we are. It has taken me a lifetime to figure that one out.

Every time I get comfortable God puts the ladder in front of me and says, “Climb”. I sometimes sit and stare at the ladder, knowing it’s going to lead me to another rung and I like the rung I’m on. However; the ladder doesn’t go away it stays IN the way until I start to climb again.

I can assure you that God’s plan for each one of us is so much better than we can imagine or think. If we could just trust Him, blindly, and keep climbing – what a wonder we would see in our lives. It’s never bad. It’s always better. Things might get a little out of whack around us, but Psalms 91: says:

  • He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,my God, in whom I trust.”
    3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers,and under his wings you will find refuge;his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night,nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side,ten thousand at your right hand,but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
    9 If you make the Most High your dwelling — even the LORD, who is my refuge — 10 then no harm will befall you,no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands,so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
    14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;I will be with him in trouble,I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” NIV

Look at verse 7 – it says that a thousand may fall at your side . . .  that means to me that things might get a little crazy around us but we are still in His hand and if we’ll just stay there He will protect us.

I wish I had the words to tell each one reading this how much God loves you and how good He is. All of our failures and disappointments can’t even come close to His love and His goodness – His provision and His protection.

I encourage you to keep walking – put one foot in front of the other. Don’t let fear and panic get you to turn to your own methods. Trust Him. God honors our faith. As long as we do our best (not being perfect) God will direct our path and take us through the storm. It usually isn’t immediate. But, the storm will pass and you will be in a better place.

Give Him a chance. Let Him show you His love and His power. Put aside your fears, your pre-conceived ideas and you won’t be disappointed. God is bigger than mankind. We can’t even come close to understanding His ways or just what He’ll do to deliver us.

Taking matters into our own hands is like jumping off a building and then screaming to God on the way down, “Bless this stupid thing I’m doing, God”. Then we wonder what could have possibly gone wrong.

God Alone can make things right. Try it His way – just try it. He won’t fail you.

Who Will I Be Today?

19 Nov

Scripture tells us that God’s ways are higher than ours. Our imagination doesn’t do justice when it comes to working out the details of our lives and the purposes God has for us. We can’t know just how effective we can be in His hands if we follow His guidance and step out in His courage as He directs us.

Our first concern is usually ourselves. We consider all the ways that our lives will be affected and how we are going to be inconvenienced. We reason and plot, plan and scheme. We don’t mean to be crafty. But we can be.

  • Robert Burns was a poet from Scotland. In his Scottish dialect he said, ” “O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us!” Or simply,  “I wish for a power to give us this gift: Being able to see ourselves the way other people see us.” (Wikiquote)

Each of us sees ourselves differently than others do. We wear many masks. We want others to like us and to accept us, so we have become adept at changing those masks as needed. We work so  hard at being what others want us to be that we do not become all that God intended. We rest secure in our own decisions instead of yielding to His direction for our lives.

I don’t know about you, but I have an idea of how I want my life to be. I set my goals and work hard at achieving them. If something comes up to  interfere with my preconceived ideas, it upsets me – or, it used to. I  have discovered that God’s ways are always so superior to mine. I have to bury my flesh, my emotions, my “rights”, my will. It’s called FAITH.

God sees potential in all of us. He knows our limits. He uses all the pain and failures in our lives to train us. We don’t pass through our trials and tribulations for no reason. Even if we have brought them upon ourselves! God can use everything that is meant for our destruction as a gift to someone who needs us to understand what is happening in their lives. They need someone who has received God’s grace and mercy to show them that same grace and mercy.

No experience is wasted. We need one another. We should sometimes forget the awkwardness we are subject to or the inconvenience of the disruption in our lives – if God has a task for us that is not exactly what we had made room for in our goal setting.

We should always be available to God if we truly want Him to use us as His disciples. We must look beyond our own comfortable surroundings and yield to His call – whatever it might be.

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